All about the humble hashtag

Hashtags are all over the Internet, from Twitter to Instagram

  • Aug. 27, 2017 4:30 a.m.

Jay Schappert

For The Morning Star

Whether you first knew the symbol “#” as a number sign, the pound symbol or as a tic-tac-toe board, its incarnation as the hashtag has changed language for millions of people around the globe. Sure, it can indicate where you’re posting from (#mybackyard) or what you’re posting about (#enjoyingarumandpepsi). But it has also shaped elections, launched social movements and transcended its meaning as a mere keystroke to become a defining symbol of our digital age. Its story started on a bare-bones social-networking site called Twitter back in 2007, when early adopters began developing tools to organize their tweets.

The original name was proposed as “channels” but somehow it just didn’t sound correct. The hash mark is one of the operators in C, and was known as the hash – not pound. So the name came from programmer culture.

Soon enough people started using it and eventually in 2009, Twitter decided to embrace it. Hashtags eventually started moving to other platforms like Instagram in 2010. The hashtag became the lingua franca for labelling content on both platforms.

It also added another dimension to Twitter. You could be linked via the hashtag to people you didn’t follow or who didn’t follow you. You could make new discoveries.

But the hashtag was not created for Twitter. The hashtag was created for the Internet.

If you would like to submit a question or suggest a topic for future column consideration, please email your questions or comments to: info.vpcuc@gmail.com

The next monthly meeting of the Vernon PC Users’ Club will be Sept. 12 at 7 p.m. in the cafeteria at the Schubert Centre.

We start off every meeting with a “TANSQ” session. Come check us out!

Call Betty at 250-542-7024 or Grace at 250-549-4318 for more information.

Jay Schappert is with the Vernon PC Users’ Club.

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